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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

550                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITKR ATI/RE

individuality is that of an impressionist ically coloured idealization
of landscape, wistfully lovely or perhaps ironically tinged as the
component elements of the total picture pass before the reader's
mind, and with the inwrapt meaning unfolding as a single truth
as the parts merge into a visualized whole. Thus in DcrEauarbdter
we have a ruthless survey of the tricks and habits, when on duty,
of a builder's labourer of today:

Am Ikbsten sityt er still a/tf der

and lies t die ZeitMi& knit tribes

imyvisdwt sucbt ihn %prnig der Po/icr -

//// L&erlatif fatirsthf der Sfahl flcr Miscbmischine*

And so forth* And then, as the poem ends, what passes through
the rudimentary mind the fellow has;

Sei9s drum I lir jijbt den Pyramids Dtiwi\
die Tonyrquadern sfhwcr^fii ihn iw Griff *
fruh hi/ft er sinew PMt//jtwtet/fomr,
in China sit^t er <wfder Grossvn Matter
undwartet auf dm ]:eimibendp/iff<

Here, as often in Piontek's verse, it is the last line that tells or
bowls one over. Piontek's metrical technique varies; the earlier
lyrics are strictly traditional in form, faultlessly rhymed and rhyth-
mically smooth; then we have a stretch of unrhymed verse with
lines of unequal length, this genre too as old as Goethe and differ-
ing only from the older pattern in the more pointedly impression-
istic purpose and in the strict concentration; these poems are
essentially thumb-nail sketches of chows iws and passing as on a
television screen. The technique remains constant in Rawhfahne
(1953). There is grim realism; thus in PJtr&jnngf Piontck builds
up a picture of a stable-hoy at his routined jobs and the effect of
each one of them on him; the instances and the stable slang are so
shockingly new that the total effect is that of an undiscovered
world. One salient feature - as in Piontck'ss verse generally - is
that the succeeding instances seem so distanced from one another
in the far-fetched relativity of the linked concepts that the reader's
mind leaps from impression to impression; this Piontek justifies
learnedly by a saying of Hctaditus (placed as a motto at the head
of one of the poems) that everywhere everything is linked and